The Olga is Strong in this One

Have I ever mentioned Olga on here? My great-grandmother, the most stubborn woman this world has ever seen? Well, my great-grandmother was the most stubborn woman this world has ever seen. A woman well before her time, she raised a child with Down Syndrome at a time when she was told to put her child in an institution and forget she was ever born. Yeah, Olga said no (I’ve heard what she said was quite colorful, actually). She was a tough woman who lived through the Great Depression, and her DNA is exceptionally strong in her female descendants. And it is REALLY strong in Izzy. Continue reading

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Izzy Ever After

The Sparkly Shoes arrived in the Wolfe household in December of 2011. I had found a beautiful Christmas dress for little miss that was champagne in color. I had seen ruby red sparkly shoes at Target and thought they look lovely with the dress. We went to try on shoes, and alas, there were no sparkly red shoes in her size. Cue meltdown. Hers, not mine. Lo and behold, a few feet away stood PINK sparkly shoes, from Hello Kitty. Izzy was in heaven. Her two loves together, and in shoe form. Continue reading

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It’s Starting

I’m a reader. I love being surrounded by books, and the library and Barnes and Noble happen to be two of my happiest places on earth. I have an Amazon app on my phone that is dangerous to the health of my bank account. I got an email today that Michael Pollan has a new book, and I’m trying to be good and waiting to check it out once it available at the library, but I’m shaking in anticipation. I have a book list a mile long and not enough time to read. Continue reading

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Success

I meant to post this a week ago, but the writing didn’t come together. It still isn’t coming together well, and maybe it’s just not the earth-shattering story I envisioned it being. Anyhoo, I’m happy to say I went forty-six days without my beloved, my Coca-Cola. I made it. Giving up Coke (and all soda) for Lent didn’t have a big spiritual connection to the season, but gave me a designated time period to try. I was side by side with others who had opted to give up a vice, and happily, we helped each other rather than enable each other. Continue reading

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April Fool

July 20, 2012 marked ten years of marriage. I was happy. Much like the big wedding day, temperatures were very hot. There was a great anniversary dinner date planned, and I had a surprise to share–days earlier I had a positive pregnancy test. Actually, three. I kept that secret ready to share the news on the special day. It was a surprise to me as well as anyone who heard the news. I was thrilled. Ever since a false alarm earlier in the year, I had an aching for another child. I had started some early pregnancy symptoms and felt different. Having done this three times before, I had my suspicions of what was happening. I waited to test, but still tested early as I had each pregnancy before.

Plans were made, and at this point this was old hat. One quick and dirty pregnancy calculator predicted a due date of March 28, 2013, another predicted April 1, 2013. I enjoyed this place for about five days, when after that I learned things may be in jeopardy. After a call to the doctor and a few instructions, it was time to wait and see. The next day I went in for some testing, and the results were devastating. Blood testing showed hCG levels were low enough to indicate either a very early miscarriage, or that I hadn’t been pregnant at all, or as I call it, not meant to be or nothing at all. I was crushed. I wanted it. I had become attached and the thought was ripped away from me.

I knew that even though I was heartbroken, God knew better. Even as discussion took place about the meaning of this, whether or not to have another child, what that would mean for the future, I knew everything as always was in God’s hands. In light of recent events, I know that if I were currently pregnant, this situation would be exponentially more complicated. It’s bad enough as it is. One thing I’m trying to learn is that my life is headed in a direction I didn’t anticipate. I’m well aware that things seldom go as planned, and that in life you don’t always get your way. Anyone who scoffs at the thought of me knowing that needs to keep in mind all I have faced in my life. I know how to roll with it when things change. I know how to make the best out of any situation. I know that this too shall pass. I have been seasoned to face adversity, and to accept what is handed to me, even if I’m not happy about it.

I have felt foolish lately being happy anytime before November. When things got rough, I approached them knowing I would hold on to my convictions and upholding any vow I had made. I know I did that. As I look back, I can’t see anything I would change or do differently.

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To Coke, or not to Coke

Surprisingly, I’ve done well. Today is day 43 sans Coca Cola, and I have survived. Last year I made it through ten days before I caved. This year, I just didn’t do it.

What has improved: My teeth are whiter, I’m sleeping better, I have more energy, my kidneys are no longer screaming, pain at the site formerly known as my gall bladder is gone, I’ve saved money, I’m eating better, I’ve had fewer headaches, and I’m no longer having occasional heart palpitations. I was expecting to lose more weight, especially coupled with my half-marathon training, but alas, the scale hasn’t budged much. I will say that my ass is shrinking and higher than it has been in a while, and there is evidence of the abs I once had. WOO! Continue reading

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I Hate Mother Nature.

Today is allegedly the first day of spring. Yeah yeah yeah, science, global positioning relative to the sun and all of that nonsense, I get it. I am enjoying more daylight and am looking forward to warmer temperatures, if Mother Nature ever decides we are worthy of them. I keep looking at the advanced forecast which promises temps in the mid fifties, my favorite. Then when those days approach, no, it’s more like thirties, maybe low forties. Continue reading

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5K

Tomorrow I will run in my first road race in seven years. I signed up for the Lincoln Half-Marathon in December, something I have wanted to do for years. Each year, something has happened to block me from doing it, from surgery, to childbirth, to moving, to missing entry deadlines, and sell outs. So I stayed up late to register so I my efforts would not be thwarted (great word). I joined a running group called Lincoln Moms in Motion to help me with my training.

Tomorrow is the finish line of the first eight week session that got us ready for this 5K. I had a blast. I missed most of the group runs on Saturdays, but managed to get my training in on my own. We also kickboxed once a week and had a night of interval training every week. I loved it. I found out that I am faster than I thought and in somewhat better shape than I thought. When I can run without pushing the jogging stroller in front of me with 25 pounds of Zach, it makes a huge difference! I was feeling good about this race until this past week. I stayed home from Saturday’s training run because I was getting a cold. I pushed it to Sunday, and decided to go out in the afternoon and run four miles. The week before I had a great four mile run and felt fantastic. This time my calf muscles were all cramped up after two miles. I walked the other two miles. And I was close to my cousin’s apartment after two miles, so it was a lot for me not to walk to her door and ask for a ride back to my car.

The rest of the week wasn’t much better. Monday night I was tired and achy, and skipped kickboxing. I was hoping I would be ready for Wednesday night intervals (because I love them!), but my chest hurt, I was coughing a lot, and running in sub-freezing temps probably wasn’t the best idea. I hoped to do the interval training on a treadmill yesterday, but again, no. I did do some light yoga to keep my muscles stretched, and that felt good. Today I am feeling much better, but know I shouldn’t do too much the day before the race. So I’m going in tomorrow without having any exercise in almost a week.

So, I’m nervous. I feel better today, and the time off has helped my nagging shin splints disappear, so hopefully tomorrow I will have a good run. What the race means to me is concluding the training, using it towards training for the half-marathon, and remembering what running in races is like. The prospect of the half-mary still makes me want to vomit. After a good training session, I felt better about it. Since I haven’t had that in over a week, I hope completing tomorrow’s 5K brings be back to that. Wish me luck!

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Dance Party

Today marks twenty-three years since my father died. I was nine years old, and have spent more time without him than with him. I miss him everyday, and wish he could be here, especially to see my kids, but this has been my normal for so long I don’t know it any other way. As this day approaches each year, I find myself in a funk that goes away once the day is gone. I’m not usually thinking the day is approaching, but something usually serves as a reminder. This year it happened while watching Doctor Who.

I was watching The Doctor Dances, and at the end the Doctor dances with Rose, which was funny of course, but what caught my attention was the song. They were dancing to “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller, the song my dad would dance with us girls to. We would listen to it on the record player (yep, record player) and he would dance with each one of us. We dubbed it “the shoop doop dance” because that’s what he would sing. We danced in the living room over and over, and I know other songs were played but this is the one I remember vividly.

My mom often asks what I remember about him. My memory of my dad is not linear, and is unfortunately short. I remember him taking me to and picking me up from school, secretly getting Happy Meals for lunch and being told not to tell mommy, eating Oreos and drinking Coca Cola from glass bottles while watching a Braves baseball game in the big blue chair, going to the gun club to watch him shoot clay pigeons, being told to leave the room because he had a dirty joke to tell, him making rye bread and covering the kitchen in flour, having prime rib at Misty’s, and a few more things. It’s blurry, but it’s there.

A few nights ago, Jake and Izzy asked if we could have a dance party. We do this a lot. It started when Jake was a toddler and he and I had mornings together before I went to work. I would put on a CD (usually George Harrison) and we would dance around the kitchen together. Lately these take place while listening to Slacker Radio, with the kids choosing the songs (much to my dismay) and we just go nuts. Izzy asked me when we started having dance parties, so I told her how Jake and I started it up before she was born. I played “In the Mood” for them and told them how I would dance with my dad to it, sometimes while standing on his feet. Izzy came over to dance with me and asked if she could put her feet on mine. When she did that, two things became blatantly obvious: first, kudos to my dad for dancing with us on his feet because that was hard to do, and secondly, the dance party started when I was little. I hadn’t made the connection between the dance parties with my kids and the dance parties when I was little. Little pieces of memory must be coming out in the way I interact with my kids. Sure, I tell Izzy to run to the fridge and get me a string cheese (I usually grabbed my dad a beer), but the dance party should have been obvious. And now I wonder what else I do but don’t think about (brushing Izzy’s hair in the morning and listening to her scream brings back some memories).

What I have done consciously for them is when I tuck them in, the last thing I say is “good night, I love you.” Seems pretty basic for most parents, but those were the last words my dad said to me. He tucked me in for the last time 23 years ago, and said “good night Sara, I love you.”

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Another Weekend

Another weekend off, and they aren’t getting easier. I’m remembering how I don’t sit still well. Several times I tried to sit and watch some TV (I would love to read but there is so much clutter and chaos in my mind I don’t think I would absorb anything), and I found myself restless. The only plan I had for the weekend was to get some furniture moved from my cousin’s house to my basement. With the help of her husband and my brother in law, the kids’ playroom is one huge step closer to completion. It’s nice having an extra living space, essentially adding 600 square feet of usable space.

The unfinished portion of the basement has been a mess since we moved back in. The large shelving unit used to store totes had been dismembered until this weekend. As I was moving stuff away from the wall I wanted to put the shelves to access some end tables, I realized I nearly had enough space to put it together and quickly moved the rest of the junk out of the way. I was never included in the construction of these shelves, kind of because of an unspoken division of labor. I was pleased to assemble them in under forty minutes, by myself. It’s up against the wall and now houses Christmas trees and decorations, totes filled with kids clothes and memorabilia, and a boatload of other totes that need sorting, but something my brain wasn’t ready for this weekend. Now there is an unspoken line of implied masking tape down that room, my stuff on one side, other stuff on the other ready to go to a new home. There was some purging of tote contents (like envelopes from bills, why do I keep that stuff?), and slowly but steadily the physical clutter is leaving or becoming organized, and with it the mental clutter follows suit.

I use these weekends to get the house to a normally unachievable level of clean, but I did everything I could to put that off as long as possible. I had a gift card to Target, and fulfilled every woman’s wildest fantasy of going to Target alone, no kids. The reality was way better than the fantasy. I was able to get some necessities that had been put off, like bath mats (no more towels on the floor as a substitute), a shower curtain for the kids’ bathroom (Jacob swears one of these days he wants to try to take a shower instead of a bath), cups for each bathroom (though I will miss the jack-o-lantern cup in my bathroom), and a cube storage system that was ridiculously on sale. My hope is this can be mounted on a wall in my kitchen and serve as a makeshift open pantry. On my list is finding a variety of glass canisters so I can store rice, noodles, flours, sugar, and so on along with my cookbooks on this shelf. I have a vision for the kitchen and am slowly progressing towards it. If this doesn’t work, I have a plan B, but Zach could try to climb on plan B, so I’m hoping plan A has a shot.

I took note of the changes I’ve made to the house, projects that had been made out to be impossible or put off. I’ve always been a doer, and am glad I am accomplishing all I have been. I learned how to use the drill and hung up some candle sconces I’ve had for years, and took that newly acquired skill to change out the horrible vertical, life and light sucking blinds and replaced them with a curtain rod and shades that let light in without sacrificing privacy (and are Zach proof and washable. He had been knocking down pieces of the blinds on a daily basis). I painted the kids’ bathroom, I set up the playroom, I put the shelves together, I got the snowblower working and even fixed a flat tire on it, and more that I can’t think of. This is a long list, and yes I’m patting myself on the back, but what I’m marveling at is how easy they are to accomplish. Hard work, yes, but not impossible.

Many of these projects have been spontaneous. I’ve had a vision for how this house will look “completed,” and it seems within reach. I am realizing how conditioned I am to think that taking care of some of this is so backbreaking. Not really. With a lot of these accomplishments (usually while in the middle of a project) has come some unusual inspiration. As I make these inspirations come to life, I would like to share them with you.

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